Troubled comedian Bill Cosby participated in a “March for Education” in Selma, Alabama late last week in an attempt to advocate for the city’s black youth.
The comedian has cancelled a number of shows after over 25 women came forward to accuse him of drugging and sexually abusing them, and is currently facing two pending lawsuits. Cosby and his attorneys have repeatedly denied each of the allegations.
Cosby was asked to help launch the “Black Belt Children Matter” campaign by the Black Belt Community Foundation. He kicked off the foundation’s “March for Education” by walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with hundreds of students from the Selma High School. The bridge was the backdrop for Bloody Sunday in 1965, when numerous peaceful demonstrators were beaten by police as they protested for voting rights. Prior to that, Cosby gave a speech to area high schoolers, writes Adam Howard for MSNBC.
He has consistently offered support to the Black Belt organization, saying in a statement, “We have a moral and societal obligation to give our young people the opportunity to succeed with their education.”
According to Cosby’s team, he is hoping to turn the negative attention that he has been receiving into a positive for the event by focusing on how the organization has helped the community foundation and education.
“The Black Belt Community Foundation is overwhelmed and elated that Dr. Bill Cosby agreed and accepted our invitation,” said foundation president, Felecia Lucky. “Dr. Cosby’s legacy transcends decades but his dedication to humanity, education, and philanthropy is an invaluable resource.”
The foundation hopes to raise enough donations to help the poverty-stricken “Black Belt,” which is made up of 12 counties including Selma. The area is named for its fertile black soil, however, its inhabitants have faced low income and high unemployment rates for decades.
In addition, they would like to see Cosby help the organization raise awareness not only for education, but also for entrepreneurship and philanthropy, arts and culture, community economic development and health and wellness, writes Rebecca Burylo for The Montgomery Advertiser.
Cosby has donated millions of dollars to colleges and thousands more for scholarship grants along with his wife Camille through the couple’s foundation.
Lucky said the foundation had asked Cosby to donate his time for this event due to his history of advocating for education.
“We are so grateful for the gift of Dr. Cosby and the opportunity to showcase it on a national stage,” she said. “But at the end of the day the main focus is that Black Belt children matter.”